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Tel: 44 23 8028 7177
Georgian manor houses invariably lie at the end of a long gravel drive, past formal gardens and elegant outbuildings. Lime Wood, true to form, presents a perfect picture of eighteenth-century gentrification. Wood fires crackle in gorgeously furnished sitting rooms beyond the foyer, while checkerboard floors of cream and black stone gleam under chandeliers and sconces of metal oak leaves. A glass-ceilinged conservatory accommodates tea takers and spirit drinkers alike. Meals are served in the adjoining rustic "Scullery," and when weather permits, guests can also dine on a terrace overlooking clipped yew hedges, vine trellises, and reflecting pools stocked with speckled trout. Bedrooms in white, beige, and silvery blue-gray soothe the soul even as the body is cosseted by the plumpest pillows. Also pampering is the immense bathroom with its claw-foot tub, capacious walk-in shower, and delectably scented Bamford botanic products. For sport you can borrow Wellies from the mudroom, pick up a walking map at reception, and set off on a hearty forest walkstaff will gladly point the way. Alternatively, Winchester is a 25-minute drive and Jane Austen's family home not much farther.
Which room to book: The stand-alone two-bedroom Beech Suite is the costliest but popular for a striking design that includes a black ceiling. The suites in the coach house have working fireplaces and private terraces and offer direct access to the forest.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.